‘Just having a lot of raw data doesn’t provide any actionable information without some kind of analysis’
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Bridge Connector CEO David Wenger says that advances in home health technology have created a deluge of data—now providers need a meaningful way to analyze it.
Wenger, who recently helped to raise $4.5 million in seed funding for the platform, which helps health systems streamline and automate data flows, shared his thoughts on how patient-generated health data and interoperability will transform the delivery of health care in the future.
HHTN:How is health data accessibility impacting the way care is being delivered?
WENGER:First, there is an increased capability for providers to get on-demand data, at the point of care. Previously, this opportunity was limited only to the data in that individual EHR. But now, data from other sources—like data from home health devices—can be incorporated so providers can make better, more informed decisions. Additionally, when patients move to another facility, the patient’s complete history can be transferred automatically, so the receiving facility immediately
has a full picture of the incoming patient and can better prepare for their care.
HHTN:What are some challenges to getting actionable, insightful health care data?
WENGER:First, there were technological challenges to get data moving from one system to another. Meaningful Use standards were not enough to guarantee that data would translate between systems, so the process to create interfaces was long, expensive and only possible for large enterprise organizations. With new technology and methods that make integration much faster and less expensive, the challenge moves to being more of a political one. Some EHR systems intentionally make themselves difficult for integration, for fear of becoming “less valuable” to their customers. On the other side, there are customers that are conservative and reluctant to have personal health information moving between systems. We believe these political barriers will diminish over time, since giving actionable data to providers improves the patient experience too significantly to be hindered by territorial vendors.
HHTN:How is patient-generated health data helpful to providers?
WENGER:Patient-generated information from connected devices lets providers see how their patients are doing when they are not in an actual care facility, providing the care team with a better indication of how the patient is doing day-to-day. There is a challenge of delivering actual insights, however, because just having a lot of raw data doesn’t necessarily provide any actionable information without some kind of analysis.
HHTN:How will true interoperability change the way health care providers deliver care?
WENGER:When a patient’s data can automatically and securely follow patients wherever they go, in any care setting, research has shown that they will enjoy a superior experience and will achieve better outcomes. The providers taking care of the patient will already have the individual’s history, so there is no “reset” every time a new care setting with a new provider gets involved. Additionally, there is inherent value with data moving the other way. When data can flow back to acute facilities, they receive insights into which home health agency is best performing for the patients they send, allowing them to make better, more informed decisions. When this data is broken down further by specific disease states, for example, the insights become even more valuable, allowing providers to choose the best agency for a patient’s specific condition.
HHTN:What will home health care delivery look like in five to 10 years?
WENGER:Agencies will receive new patients automatically from referral sources, based on fit, and because the data is arriving quickly and accurately, the best care plan will automatically be chosen for the patient. All of that will happen before the first point of contact with the patient. Once the care plan activates, the patient’s day-to-day health data will automatically flow into a system through which the entire care team, including family members, can collaborate. So, everyone on the care team has a full view, in real time, of what is going on with the patient.
By combining different data sources, artificial intelligence will power automatic alerts when patients may be trending toward a worsening condition, before the providers may even realize there is a larger problem.
With these advances, the capability of home health to care for patients outside of a facility strengthens, and more patients are able to remain at home, instead of a hospital or long-term care facility.